California Lemon Law News + Info

What is the Lemon Law Presumption?

If you have ever heard that you only have 18 months or 18,000 miles to get repairs and qualify for a California lemon law claim, then you have encountered a very common myth. That 18-month rule is not a time limit for qualifying for the California Lemon Law. It’s a misunderstanding of a part of the California Lemon Law known as the “Lemon Law Presumption.”

If you’ve ever bought a new or used car that turned out to be a lemon, you may be familiar with the California Lemon Law broadly. The Lemon Law protects consumers who purchase vehicles that turn out to have significant defects that can’t be fixed after a certain number of attempts to repair the vehicle. Each state lemon law is different, and the Lemon Law Presumption is what makes California’s lemon law particularly strong.

Under the California Lemon Law, your vehicle is considered a “lemon” if the manufacturer had a “reasonable” number of chances to repair your vehicle during the manufacturer’s warranty and the defect has not gone away. The Lemon Law Presumption provides a general guideline for when that “reasonable” number of chances has been offered.

The Lemon Law Presumption refers to a specific part of the law called the Tanner Consumer Protection Act. If your vehicle meets the criteria under the Lemon Law Presumption, that means your vehicle is “presumed” to be a lemon. When this legal presumption is established, the defending party has to disprove the claim you’re bringing forth. In other words, it’s now the manufacturer’s job to prove that your vehicle is not a lemon. Why? The legal presumption allows the court to assume something is true based on facts and evidence presented.

Your potential claim may meet the Lemon Law Presumption in California if within 18 months or 18,000 miles, whichever happens first, one of the following happens:

  • Your vehicle is repaired at least four times for the same problem.
  • Your vehicle has been repaired two or more times for a problem that could cause death or serious bodily injury.
  • The vehicle has been out of service for a total of more than 30 days cumulatively for repairs.

After meeting these requirements, the legal presumption applies after you have gone through arbitration and you either receive an unfavorable outcome or the manufacturer does not comply with the decision that you accepted from arbitration.

However, you can have repairs outside of the 18-month or 18,000-mile benchmark and still have a valid lemon law claim.

If your vehicle is found to be a lemon, you may be entitled to a vehicle replacement or a lemon law refund. If you think you may have a case under the California Lemon Law, it’s important to consult with an experienced lemon law attorney. Consultations are free at most lemon law firms, and an attorney can help you understand your lemon law rights and guide you through the process of getting a replacement or refund for your defective vehicle. Talk to a lemon law attorney by calling 877-217-7676.

Lemon Law Help by Knight Law Group is an automotive lemon law firm that exclusively practices in California. If you are a California resident who purchased or leased a defective vehicle from a licensed dealership in California, we may be able to help you get rid of your potential lemon and recover significant cash compensation. Model year restrictions apply: 2017–Present vehicle models only.

However, we cannot help those who reside outside of California or purchased their vehicle outside of California unless they are active duty members of the Armed Forces, nor will we be able to refer those to a lemon law firm in their states.

To learn more about the California Lemon Law and your legal rights, visit our guides on the California Lemon Law and Used Car Lemon Law for more information.

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